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Police Departments Use Drones To Enforce Social Distancing

SAVANNAH, Ga. (CBS Local) -- Police in Savannah, Georgia, are deploying five drones to get the message out about practicing social distancing.

The drones fly a hundred feet in the air and cover a much larger area than any officer could on foot. Two of them enforce social distancing with pre-recorded messages.

"This is the Savannah Police Department, due to the current health emergency, members of the public are reminded to keep a safe distance of six feet from others," the message says through a public address system.

Police say they are following Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and aren't flying the drones over crowds or in prohibited locations.

"We do not use our drones for random patrol, they're not flying all the time," Savannah Police Sergeant Jason Pagliaro told WSAV. "We use them in directed areas where the need is present."

The department also confirmed that the drones will not be recording footage or taking pictures.

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, Chatham County, in which Savannah is located, has 154 active COVID-19 cases and five fatalities.

Police departments in Daytona Beach, Florida, Meriden, Connecticut, and Elizabeth, New Jersey, are also deploying drones with pre-recorded warnings to emphasize social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

The tactic was first used in China, CNN reported in February. Britain, Spain and France have also used loudspeaker drones to remind residents about travel restrictions and other guidelines.

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